As I donned my gold Kobe Bryant “24” jersey and slipped on my black ‘back-to-back’ 2009-2010 NBA Championship hat, I headed out for the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Tickets in one hand, a beverage in the other, I looked around for my seat. Of course, the Lakers weren’t playing—the Red Hot Chili Peppers were.
But, as you walked in, purple and gold was everywhere; everyone talked to each other about the Dwight Howard deal, which had happened only a day earlier on August 10th.
For sale were fantastic purple and gold Lakers-style Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) jerseys with the number ’83, to signify when the RHCP formed.
Wherever you looked, there were either people in Chili Peppers’ shirts or Lakers’ gear.
RHCP had just returned home to Los Angeles, concluding their world tour for their tenth studio album “I’m with You.”
Moments later, a thin security guard with a salt and pepper mustache aggressively pointed at me, “you, you, get over here!” he yelled like I was in trouble. “You pretty happy about the Dwight Howard trade, huh?” I chuckled. And, we talked for a few minutes about the upcoming season and the palpable excitement in the building.
RHCP virtuoso bassist Flea, a die-hard Lakers fan, took every opportunity to talk about all his great memories with the Lakers. Flea, also, showed his pride in his hometown team with his freshly dyed purple hair.
As the show began, Flea talked about what he hopes the Lakers will accomplish this season. “We wanna welcome Steve Nash! We wanna welcome Dwight Howard!” Flea screeched, “We’re looking forward to an amazing ******* year in this building!”
Under the Bridge at the Staples Center, August 11th:
When the encore began, the new RHCP guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who replaced the mercurial John Frusciante, came out wearing a brand new Lakers Dwight Howard jersey.
All the Lakers’ and Chili Peppers connections made me linger for one song they didn’t play that night: “Mellowship Slinky in B Major” off their 1991 album ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik,’ which has a line that aptly describes that night:
“Rockin’ to the beat, the fabulous forum, my Lakers I adore ‘em.”
Rob S. De France is a College and University Instructor of English Composition living in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition. De France has played, coached, and officiated competitive high school basketball in California for many years. Recently, De France, his wife, and another colleague started an internationally read magazine at Shwibly.com.